Study Tips for Retaking the December LSAT

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You took the LSAT once. Now you need to take it again. It goes without saying that you’d like to do better this time. What about all that material you used the first time? Here’s how you can make the most of your old prep material, and plan your attack for the next test.

Your first step should be to make a quick inventory of the LSAT PrepTests you haven’t touched any of the questions from. Set aside a bunch of these, preferably the more recent ones, to use as timed practice tests. Since you haven’t seen these questions, they’ll be the best indication of where you’re really scoring. Then make a schedule and spread these tests out out between now and test day.

That leaves all the LSAT questions you’ve done already. You might think that you’ve spoiled these questions by doing them; that they’re devoid of the worth they once had. You’d be wrong. Unless you remember almost everything about a question, there’s a lot to be gained from redoing it. For many questions, you’ll probably find that you barely remember anything at all.

Even if a question is familiar to you, there’s still a lot of value in redoing it. If you see a question and you remember the kind of reasoning it took to solve it the first time, then go through the reasoning one more time to get to the answer, you’ve developed your LSAT skills considerably. You won’t see that exact question on the real LSAT, of course, but the odds are very good that you’ll see similar questions, and you’ll be better equipped to recognize those similarities.

However, when you redo questions, and especially when you have some recollection of them, you have to hold yourself to a higher standard. “OK, cool, I got it right!” isn’t good enough anymore. Your goal should be to truly, thoroughly understand the underlying logic. You should understand the question better than Fred Armisen understands drumming.

As you study, you should first and foremost address any big weaknesses you have. The first time you studied, you learned the basic framework for approaching everything on the test (if you didn’t, that’s a good place to start). Now it’s time to go further in depth. If there are some kinds of questions that you miss consistently, really learn how the test writers structure them. What can you expect to see? What separates the right answers from the wrong?

Even if there’s something you usually do well and only occasionally flub, it’s important that you look it over. “I usually do fine at these” isn’t good enough, because LSAT test day might be the exception. Take your areas of relative strength and try to turn that strength into mastery.

Start with a thorough review of all the concepts, and then shift into timed sections and tests. It’s okay to use tests that you’ve seen questions from, especially if you did those questions split up by type the first time you studied. They’ll seem fresher in the context of a full test.

Above all, stay positive. If you make a serious effort to study hard and address your weaknesses, you certainly can score better on your LSAT retake. It’ll take hard work and real honesty with yourself, but if you put in the effort you can reap the rewards.

2 Responses

  1. Ekin says:

    Hi!

    So I didn’t do as well as I though I did on the September LSAT and I am already registered to take the December LSAT. HOWEVER, I am very worried since I ran out of every material I had (I think I did all the practice tests available – If not all there must be a few left). What should I do at this point? Any suggestions?

    Thank you!

    • Greg Nix says:

      First of all, go back through and check to see if you actually did all of them. If you did, figure out which ones you did under test conditions and which ones you did in the course of regular studies, and try flipping them.

      Otherwise, all of Aaron’s advice still applies. There’s a lot to be learned from old practice tests, even if you’ve already done them. Review THOROUGHLY and figure out what concepts you don’t understand. Make sure that you can EXPLAIN why every right answer is right and every wrong answer is wrong. Even if you’ve already touched on every LSAT question (there are about 7,000 in all), you definitely haven’t gone in-depth on all of them.

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